TIFTON - The streetlights in downtown Tifton are in sad repair, a local business owner told the city council this week.

Marvin Perlis, owner of The Big Store, said he recently counted 47 bulbs not operating within a three-block area of downtown Tifton. He appeared before the city council's September meeting to ask the city to repair the lights.

"They have just let them go," Perlis said. "With no lights downtown, it's dangerous. It's downright dark.

"And it's just as bad in the residential areas. It's awful in both places. They need to update them."

Perlis said he had been trying to have the lights fixed for almost two years and that the ones near The Big Store were recently repaired.

In a letter written to Perlis by City Manager Charles Howell in July, Howell said all of the downtown street lights that could be made operational by replacing bulbs had had new bulbs installed. He said others that are not working require more extensive repairs and will be replaced by this time next year as part of the city's downtown streetscape improvement plan.

"I'm 72 years old. I may not live to see (the streetscape)," Perlis said. "It could be pie in the sky. They've just done a poor job."

In other action Monday, council:

Formally adopted its fiscal 2003 budget. The $23.2 million budget will run for just nine months, from Oct. 1 through June 30, 2003, so that the city's fiscal year will match Tift County's and those of other governments.

Approved alcoholic beverage licenses for Fast Food and Fuel, 1101 E.B. Hamilton Drive; Sunburst Food Mart, 813 Highway 82 West; and Willis Country Meats.

Approved second reading of an ordinance allowing a special zoning exception for a personal care home at 417 N. Ridge Ave.

Approved second reading of annexation and land use classification requests of Stafford Development and joint property owners on 35.89 acres of land on U.S. Highway 82 West.

To contact city editor Florence Rankin, call 382-4321, ext. 209.

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